It appears that the message scrolling alongside the pitch during Perth Glory’s finals victory over Melbourne City at AAMI Park did not go unnoticed by many. The message thanked the club’s members for their support.
Was the message aimed at those who signed up for one of the ticketing packages that the club promotes as membership packages? Or was it aimed at those who responded to the recent survey that saw Glory members claim to be the most satisfied members of any A-League club?
The report, which was prepared by The Gemba Group, surveyed more than five-thousand Hyundai A-League club members on a number issues which were: Membership Package Value Proposition, Involvement in Club, Purchasing the Membership, Club Administration, On-Field Performance, Game Day Experience and Marketing and Communications.
Such recognition is massive for Perth Glory, and is a credit to those working in that department, as over the years it is the membership staff who have copped the brunt of the abuse from dissatisfied fans as the club lurched from one off field drama to another. It may not be recognition that many of the East Coast franchises are worried about missing out on, but it is a credit to those at the club working in this department, as they have managed to change the public perception of the club, and by all accounts for the first time in many seasons had the membership packages out before the first game of the season.
Of course the one debatable issue, is how many of the club’s 6331 “members” announced on the 3rd of February as being the “highest number of members in its Hyundai A-League history, surpassing last season’s high of 6298,” are members in the true sense of the word.
To be announcing your membership numbers in the last weeks of the season is confirmation that these figures are not members in the way most clubs expect membership to be recorded. A member, at most clubs buys a season ticket at the start of the season, for which ever part of the ground they prefer, and at a price that suits their budget. These fans who stump up the money upfront make a commitment to be on board all season and are true “members.” Anyone who buys one of the alternative packages is really buying a ticketing package, or signing up to a promotional deal.
Perth Glory are by no means the only club to use such methods to try and make things appear rosier than they really are. On the 3rd of April Western Sydney Wanderers announced that they had achieved a record 20,000 members in the season, two weeks before it ended.
Maybe it is time clubs actually differentiated between season ticket holders and members. Season ticket holders being those who commit up front to the club, and the members being those who buy the various ticketing packages throughout the season. Some would even go so far as to say that calling these customers, members is a misnomer but that is a whole new debate.
So who were the club thanking? Some fans who do not take advantage of the ticketing packages, but attend games on a regular basis and buy tickets on the day, or for every game that they are able to get to or can afford to go to, were a little miffed that there support was overlooked in the message scrolling along the side of the pitch.
Poor Perth Glory, even when they get things right, it seems that they still find a way to upset a section of their fans. Maybe that is simply the lot of working at a football club, you are never going to keep everyone happy. Maybe the message will be different when they play Sydney FC this weekend.